Systems Research and Architecture Group (SRA)

Fachgebiet System- und Rechnerarchitektur

Our Research and Teaching activities are centered around the architecture of computing systems: From hardware over system software up to languages and compilers with a focus on constructive methods for the design and development of adaptable and versatile system software. The group is led by Prof. Daniel Lohmann.

Cherrapunjee Rain Forests" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by  ashwin kumar

Embedded

Those machines that are closest to our everyday life are special-purpose systems embedded into the physical world. Due to this embedding, we know a lot about the surroundings of a system. We exploit this knowledge in the design of hardware and system software.

Tailored

The requirements for every system are special. However, we often favor unspecific general-purpose components over special-purpose solutions. With the techniques of automatic tailoring, we can achieve specialized systems at moderate development costs.

Systems

During the architectural design, the required functionalities are often well understood. Nonfunctional aspects are decisive for choosing a system for a given task. Especially for embedded systems, we can optimize various aspects towards the given application scenario.

News and Trivia

2021-12-23 New DFG Grant: Adaptable Thread-Level Address spaces
ATLAS: Adaptable Thread-Level Address Spaces (DFG: LO 1719/7-1 and DI 2840/1-1)
In the ATLAS project, we investigate dynamic specialization and containment by means of thread-level address-space variations.
The German research foundation DFG is supporting our ATLAS project for two years with two positions for doctoral researchers (E13, one at SRA), two positions for student researchers (one at SRA), and some additional lab equippment. ATLAS is cooperation project with the OSG group from Christian Dietrich, TUHH.
2021-12-21 PhD Defense: Ralf Ramsauer - OSS Architecture for Mixed-Criticality Systems: A Dual View from a Software and System Engineering Perspective
Ralf Ramsauer successfully defends his PhD Thesis OSS Architecture for Mixed-Criticality Systems: A Dual View from a Software and System Engineering Perspective. Congrats, Ralf!

Abstract: Computer-based automation in industrial appliances led to a growing number of logically dependent, but physically separated embedded control units per appliance. Many of those components are safety-critical systems, and require adherence to safety standards, which is inconsonant with the relentless demand for features in those appliances. Features lead to a growing amount of control units per appliance, and to a increasing complexity of the overall software stack, being unfavourable for safety certifications. Modern CPUs provide means to revise traditional separa- tion of concerns design primitives: the consolidation of systems, which yields new engineering challenges that concern the entire software and system stack.

Multi-core CPUs favour economic consolidation of formerly separated systems with one efficient single hardware unit. Nonetheless, the system architecture must provide means to guarantee the freedom from interference between domains of different criticality. System consolidation demands for architectural and engineering strategies to fulfil requirements (e.g., real-time or certifiability criteria) in safety-critical environments.

In parallel, there is an ongoing trend to substitute ordinary proprietary base platform software components by mature OSS variants for economic and engineering reasons. There are funda- mental differences of processual properties in development processes of OSS and proprietary software. OSS in safety-critical systems requires development process assessment techniques to build an evidence-based fundament for certification efforts that is based upon empirical software engineering methods.

In this thesis, I will approach from both sides: the software and system engineering perspective. In the first part of this thesis, I focus on the assessment of OSS components: I develop software engineering techniques that allow to quantify characteristics of distributed OSS development processes. I show that ex-post analyses of software development processes can be used to serve as a foundation for certification efforts, as it is required for safety-critical systems.

In the second part of this thesis, I present a system architecture based on OSS components that allows for consolidation of mixed-criticality systems on a single platform. Therefore, I exploit virtualisation extensions of modern CPUs to strictly isolate domains of different criticality. The proposed architecture shall eradicate any remaining hypervisor activity in order to preserve real- time capabilities of the hardware by design, while guaranteeing strict isolation across domains.

2021-12-01 New Colleague at SRA
Tim-Marek Thomas joins the SRA team as a Doctoral Researcher. He will strengthen our research team in the CLASSY-FI project and assist us in our OS lectures (Grundlagen der Betriebssysteme). Welcome, Tim-Marek!
2021-09-01 New DFG Grant: Configurability-Aware Design of Operating Systems
CADOS: Configurability-Aware Development of Operating Systems (DFG: LO 1719/3-2)
In the CADOS project, we investigate scalable methods and tools to deal with the implementation of variability across all implementation layers of modern system software.
The German research foundation DFG is supporting our CADOS project for another two years with two positions for doctoral researchers (E13), two positions for student researchers, and some additional lab equippment.
2021-06-22 Data-Flow–Sensitive Fault-Space Pruning for the Injection of Transient Hardware Faults at LCTES '21

Oskar Pusz presents Data-Flow–Sensitive Fault-Space Pruning for the Injection of Transient Hardware Faults at the Conference on Languages, Compilers and Tools for Embedded Systems (LCTES '21).

In the paper, we describe Data-Flow–Sensitive Fault-Space Pruning (DFP), a new precise and fault-space–complete data-flow sensitive fault-space pruning method that extends on def/use-pruning by also considering the instructions’ semantics when deriving fault-equivalence sets. In our experimental evaluation, this already reduces the number of necessary injections by up to 18 percent compared to def/use pruning.

The DFP is the core element in the ISA level of our research project CLASSY-FI.

The source code and evaluation artifacts are available here: Source Code and Evaluation Data for the Paper: Data-Flow–Sensitive Fault-Space Pruning for the Injection of Transient Hardware Faults.

2021-05-21 ARA: Static Initialization of Dynamically-Created System Objects at RTAS '21

Björn Fiedler presents our paper ARA: Static Initialization of Dynamically-Created System Objects at the 27th IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS '21).

In the paper, we present ARA, a framework for static specialization of operating systems for embedded systems. ARA is capable to statically detect operating-system objects dynamically created during run-time and replace them by statically prepared equivalents. ARA is a major building block of our reserch project AHA towards the goal to fully automatically analyze and specialize applications and their system software.

The presentation videos, source code and evaluation artifacts are available at the paper's details page: ARA: Static Initialization of Dynamically-Created System Objects

2021-04-01 Christian Dietrich becomes Juniorprofessor at TUHH!

After many fruitful years with dozen of papers, great lectures and a lot of fun together, Christian Dietrich leaves our group to start his Juniorprofessorship (W1-TT-W3) with a new operating system group at TUHH. We will continue our work together, nevertheless miss him a lot, and wholeheartedly congratulate Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Dietrich for this great step in his career!

2021-03-12 Christian Dietrich Receives GI/ITG-FGBS Award for Best Doctoral Thesis

Christian Dietrich receives an award for the best doctoral thesis in the field of operating systems. The award is granted annually by the SIG on Operating Systems of the German Computer Assiciation (GI Fachgruppe Betriebssysteme) solely on the base of scientific excellence. It includes a price money of 500 €. Congrats, Christian!

In his dissertation Interaction-Aware Analysis and Optimization of Real-Time Application and Operating System, Christian designs and implements a control-flow--sensitive whole-system view and analysis on the interactions within real-time systems. With this approach, he can overcome many inefficiencies that arise from analyses that have an isolating focus on individual system components. Furthermore, the interaction-aware methods keep close to the actual implementation, and therefore are able to consider the behavioral patterns of the finally deployed real-time computing system.

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